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Latest University of Wisconsin Stories

2009-12-21 15:41:50

The specter of a drug-resistant form of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza is a nightmare to keep public health officials awake at night. Now, however, a study published this week (Dec. 21) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests that a new compound, one on the threshold of final testing in humans, may be more potent and safer for treating "bird flu" than the antiviral drug best known by the trade name Tamiflu. Known as T-705, the compound even works several days...

2009-12-17 13:12:01

What works for a spouse with dementia? Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia represent an exponentially growing social and health care challenge for American families "“ not only family members who face the progressive brain disease, but also those who love them. Many spouses of those with dementia do more than watch as their partners deal with the disease's effects on brain functioning, memory, motor skills and emotional health. They often assume round-the-clock caregiving...

2009-12-14 15:50:00

For a generation of students raised and nurtured at the computer keyboard, it seems like a no-brainer that computer-assisted learning would have a prominent role in the college science classroom. But many difficult scientific concepts are still conveyed through dry lectures or ponderous texts. But that could change if science professors take a cue from a new study on the use of interactive animations in the college science classroom. The findings, presented here today (Dec. 14) at the fall...

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2009-12-04 09:45:00

The rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be fueling more than climate change. It could also be making some trees grow like crazy. That is the finding of a new study of natural stands of quaking aspen, one of North America's most important and widespread deciduous trees. The study, by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota at Morris (UMM) and published today (Dec. 4) in the journal Global Change Biology, shows that elevated levels of...

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2009-11-20 08:31:39

Roughly 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America's vast assemblage of large animals "” including such iconic creatures as mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, ground sloths and giant beavers "” began their precipitous slide to extinction. And when their populations crashed, emptying a land whose diversity of large animals equaled or surpassed Africa's wildlife-rich Serengeti plains then or now, an entirely novel ecosystem emerged as broadleaved trees once...

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2009-11-15 13:05:00

Rising water temperatures are kicking up more powerful winds on Lake Superior, with consequences for currents, biological cycles, pollution and more on the world's largest lake and its smaller brethren. Since 1985, surface water temperatures measured by lake buoys have climbed 1.2 degrees per decade, about 15 percent faster than the air above the lake and twice as fast as warming over nearby land. "The lake's thermal budget is very sensitive to the amount of ice cover over the winter," says...

2009-11-15 12:07:52

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health have identified a molecular mechanism that allows two powerful signaling pathways to interact and begin a process leading to colorectal tumors. "We are very excited about these findings," says Vladimir Spiegelman, an associate professor of dermatology. "Drugs could be developed to block this mechanism and prevent colorectal cancer, which affects millions of people worldwide." The research will appear in...

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2009-11-11 14:21:48

Although Amazon's Kindle device can read books out loud, the blind find that it is tricky to turn that task on. As a result, two universities are rejecting the gadget until Amazon makes the option easily accessible. The National Federation of the Blind announced on Wednesday that the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Syracuse University will not use the electronic reading device until Amazon makes the reading aloud option easily accessible to visually impaired students. "These...

2009-11-11 11:30:00

National Federation of the Blind Commends Schools for Demanding Accessibility for Blind Students BALTIMORE, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, today applauded the decision of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Syracuse University to not deploy Amazon's Kindle DX as a means of distributing electronic textbooks (e-books) to their students. The Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that...

2009-11-09 16:00:17

Becoming "hard of hearing" is a standard but unfortunate part of aging: A syndrome called age-related hearing loss affects about 40 percent of people over 65 in the United States, and will afflict an estimated 28 million Americans by 2030. "Age-related hearing loss is a very common symptom of aging in humans, and also is universal among mammal species, and it's one of the earliest detectable sensory changes in aging," says Tomas Prolla, a professor of genetics and medical genetics at the...